October 25, 2011 § 1 Comment
Jesus’ critique of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:1-12 is not against their intentions to God per se. They have all the good intentions of living faithfully in obedience to God’s law. The two significant problems Jesus have with them are related to (1) their lack of practicing what they preach to other people (23:2-4); and (2) their motivation in doing the God’s law as a way to gain favor and honor from other (23:5-7). In this sense, we can all identify with the Pharisees. Jesus’ critiques are meant for us as well. We are struggling with the discrepancies in our life of faith. We know one thing, but constantly doing another. Behind the facade of our good intentions are our inabilities to live up to the standards of the Law. And therefore, we all are vulnerable on this issue of hypocrisy – “do as I say, but don’t do as I do”. We live in a culture where we are constantly measured up against the standards of others around us, and therefore, we have mastered the art of impressing others for the sake of gaining their acceptance and approval. But deep down, all of us also know that we need Jesus. Not only to critique us, but to offer His grace that surpasses all of our inabilities, hypocrisies, discrepancies, and above all, disobedience.